Serbia, Montenegro establish diplomatic relations

Serbia and Montenegro established diplomatic ties Thursday, hoping to start building good neighborly relations after Montenegro seceded from their loose federation last month. Foreign ministers Vuk Draskovic of Serbia and Miodrag Vlahovic of Montenegro signed in Belgrade the agreement on diplomatic relations between the two Balkan states, whose split marked the final end of what used to be Yugoslavia. "Nothing must cast a shadow over what Serbs and Montenegrins always have meant to each other," said Draskovic. Vlahovic added that an independent Montenegro will be the "best and the closest neighbor" to Serbia. Serbia and Montenegro stayed together when four other republics of the original, six-republic Yugoslav federation declared independence in the early 1990s. Over the years, however, even the two "sister states" grew apart and Montenegro's leaders pressed for independence.